Mesothelioma is a fatal disease with an average survival rate of just eighteen months. There are many different types of mesothelioma, most of which are defined by what part of the body the disease affects. The different types of mesothelioma are accompanied by the deterioration of health at different rates, and can cause different sets of collateral health problems. Pain or bodily dysfunction caused by fluid accumulation, weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, bowel obstruction and other problems often occur as a result of mesothelioma progression.
Palliative care, or non-curative treatment aimed at providing relief, can offer improved comfort and an increased quality of life in many mesothelioma patients. Because there is no cure for mesothelioma, all current treatments are considered palliative treatments. These generally include tumor removal surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Different regimens of one or more palliative care options are recommended in different circumstances, with the ultimate aim being to improve a patient’s comfort and extend their survival as much as possible.
When diagnosed early, many of the symptoms of the disease can be treated more effectively. An early diagnosis doesn’t just mean better relief of pain and discomfort, though, it can also increase survival time. While the mean survival of mesothelioma is around eighteen months, actual survival can vary greatly depending on particular circumstances. A patient’s age, gender, lifestyle choices such as drinking and smoking habits, and general health can have surprising impacts on the disease’s progression. Patients with generally poor health facing a late diagnosis and other complications may only live for a few months with the disease. Healthier patients in whom the diagnosis is completed early, however, can sometimes survive the cancer for years with proper treatment.
Many organizations around the world are dedicated to improving mesothelioma treatment and finding a cure. New leads are discovered every year as researchers continue to commit their careers to uncovering new hope for mesothelioma patients.